Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Was God Sleeping During Sandy? A Thought Exercise

How can the haphazard, chaotic destruction caused by a freak storm be reconciled with a purposeful, unchanging God?  Does this question haunt only me?

In my Bible reading today, I found this...

"Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?" 

Presumably, the answer to these questions - is God.  And of course, this isn't the only place in Scripture He takes credit for the weather.

Perhaps I should just adopt the simple position that Sandy was the outstretched hand of God's holy wrath against a wicked and rebellious people.  But sadly, my self-comforting judgmental attitude is short lived when I remember that plenty of good folks were in Sandy's path too.  And then I remember that, back when God actually took to answering man's questions directly, He already said that He wouldn't wipe out a city if it contained even ten righteous people.  (See Genesis 18)

Perhaps I should just adopt the naive position that Sandy was only an agent of God's goodness.  And that any actual harm is merely perceived.  But sadly, my self-comforting ignorance is short lived when I hear that the body count is rising and I see the pictures of destruction.  And then I realize that there isn't a big enough pair of rose-colored glasses in the whole world to brighten the murky flood waters of Sandy's misery.

Perhaps I should just adopt a complex, far-fetched theory about some potential disaster prevented by Sandy.  And that because of the cancelled flights, and school closings - we've miraculously avoided another 9-11 or Columbine.  But sadly, my imaginative musings just come across as grasping at straws.  And then I realize that the devastation caused by Sandy was unprecedented, and couldn't have been matched by a dozen tragedies.

Perhaps I should  just adopt a deistic determinism that says Sandy was just the outworking of weather patterns set in motion millions of years ago.  And that the folks in the northeast just happened to draw the short straw when it comes to natural disasters.  But sadly, my attempt to make God a passive bystander does little to comfort my concerns.  And I realize that having nobody behind the storm is just as bad, if not worse, than having Someone behind the storm.  

Do these questions haunt only me?

Maybe the truth is a delicate combination of the above options.  

Maybe the truth is beyond our grasp, forever eluding us.

Maybe the truth is within my grasp, and I refuse to believe it.

Do these questions haunt only me?

Apparently not:

"The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out. Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the holy One. Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know!" - Proverbs 30:1-4

1 comment:

  1. Isaiah 55:8-9 - "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Our response: Psalm 46:10 - Be still and know that I am God.

    There's no way to logically reason out what God is doing or will do. We can't go that route. That's why we have to live by faith, and trust that somehow, somewhere, there is some kind of good in some part of Sandy's destruction. But that sounds like a pat answer to someone who has lost everything, I know.